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Personal Narrative: Tomia Valdez

Tomia Valdez, 42, of Rapid City, is on disability for a degenerative genetic condition and has custody of her 17-year-old son who is on the autism spectrum. She said her driver’s license has been suspended since 2017 because she owes the state $4,000. The debt arose from a 2014 legal battle for which Valdez said she was assigned a public defender. She said she had been accused of neglecting and abandoning her son after they were evicted from their residence. She says the incident was a misunderstanding that took nearly two years to overcome in order to regain custody of her son.

In 2017, Valdez said she went to get her driver’s license reinstated after settling a separate legal issue but was denied and told of the $4,000 debt for the first time. Valdez said the debt would be nearly impossible to settle given her limited income.

Source: Capital Journal

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